The comedian and television presenter Justin Lee Collins subjected his girlfriend to a campaign of physical assault and harassment during which he forced her to compile a graphic dossier of every sexual experience she had ever had, a court heard.
The 38-year-old threatened to kill Anna Larke, with whom he had a nine-month relationship, if she told anyone that he had “smacked” her in the face, as he sought to control every aspect of her life, St Albans Crown Court heard.
Mr Collins, who came to fame with Channel 4’s The Friday Night Project and appeared in the West End musical Rock Of Ages until this week, denies harassing Ms Larke, a recovering alcoholic who met the star while he was still married and who moved in with him in 2011.
Peter Shaw, prosecuting, told the court: “The main part of that relationship was characterised by this defendant exerting control over her, verbally abusing her and physically assaulting her.”
Mr Shaw said: “Once, when the defendant lost his temper with Ms Larke, he slapped her in the face.
“He told her, in effect, she must like it in a sexual way because she had allowed a previous boyfriend to do so. He wanted to know from her why he couldn’t slap her in the face.”
Mr Collins listened as Mr Shaw added that he had threatened to “put her in hospital unless she shut up” and that once, after becoming jealous of a previous lover, he had smacked her between the legs with an open hand.
On a trip to Miami in March 2011, Mr Collins had grabbed his partner’s hair and pulled her to the floor, the barrister said. “He pinned her down and spat in her face. She was screaming so loudly that a member of the hotel staff attended the room to see what was happening.”
In May that year, Mr Collins returned home from filming abroad and was “angry” that Ms Larke had only managed to attend one Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that day rather than two. “He accused her of infidelity,” said Mr Shaw. “He was slapping her and she was forced to flee the flat screaming for help.”
The court heard that Mr Collins instructed Ms Larke always to sleep facing him and to compile a dossier.
“The purpose of the notebook was to list every sexual experience with every one of Ms Larke’s previous lovers or partners,” Mr Shaw said.
“He would ask her questions and then write it down. She felt it was a disgusting thing to have to do and she was worried she would lose him by doing it.
“He sometimes accused her of lying about the details of her past and initially she did lie about her past because she regarded it as acutely private, but he told her that it would help the relationship and help him deal with her past.”
Ms Larke made recordings of rows with Mr Collins, which the court heard. At one point he states she had unprotected sex "on a train with [people from] different ethnicities".
The recording also captured Mr Collins subjecting Ms Larke, in his distinctive West Country accent, to a torrent of abuse.
In a police interview, Mr Collins denied ever assaulting Ms Larke “other than slapping her cheek to calm her when she’d been self-harming.”
Mr Collins told detectives that Ms Larke was the possessive one in the relationship.
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